State told to abolish untouchability
Debabrata Mohapatra, TNN | Jul 18, 2011, 11.17pm IST
BHUBANESWAR: The National SC and ST Commission on Monday ordered the
state government to chalk out a strategy so that the age-old practice
of untouchability could go once and for all. The commission issued the
directive when the chief secretary and DGP appeared before it at New
Delhi in connection with a recent incident, involving atrocity on some
Dalit girls at a village near Puri.
"The commission has asked us to prepare a strategy to eradicate
untouchability from the state. We would prepare the report within 15
days and submit it to the commission," chief secretary B K Patnaik
"Police is taking all steps to maintain amity in those pockets, which
are vulnerable to untouchability. We have already started
sensitization programmes with the help of the district administrations
at different places," DGP Manmohan Praharaj said.
Recently, the commission came down heavily on the state government for
doing little to protect a group of Dalits, who bore the brunt of upper
caste people after three lower caste girls entered a temple at
Ranapada near Puri last year.
The upper caste people allegedly humiliated the girls by describing
them as untouchable'. It snowballed into a major controversy with the
upper and lower caste people indulging in a brawl. Police had arrested
a number of people belonging to the upper caste for suppressing the
A delegation led by commission's chairman P L Punia visited the
village last month and interacted with the victims. Punia's visit had
kicked up a controversy as a section of the media reported that Punia
entered the shrine, breaking an age-old ban on the entry of Dalits
into the temple. However, the police had denied reports of Punia
entering the shrine.
Earlier this year the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) pulled
up the state government for failing to tackle bonded labour and child
labour practices in the state.
Voicing concern that the bonded labour system still prevails in many
districts, the NHRC found fault with the district collectors and SPs
concerned in failing to safeguard the rights of the poor people,
mostly in rural areas.
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